CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 26 (Ticker) --
An apparent meltdown by
put the seal on a letdown by the Miami Heat.
Wade's missed 3-pointer at the buzzer allowed the expansion
Charlotte Bobcats to escape with a 94-92 triumph over the
Eastern Conference-leading Heat, who were coming off an
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"It's Miami," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "I think
it was gratifying for the simple reason that normally they make
that last shot and we hurt all night. From that standpoint,
it's a relief that the ball didn't go in the basket."
With Miami trailing, 94-91, Wade was fouled by Jason Hart
four seconds remaining. After making the first free throw, the
All-Star guard intentionally missed the second and gathered the
Instead of putting up a short jumper that could have tied the
game, Wade inexplicably scurried to the 3-point line and
unleashed a shot at the buzzer that was off the mark.
"I saw the opportunity," Wade said. "Stuff just happened so
fast, I can't even tell you what I was thinking. When I got it,
I looked up and was thinking three. But at the same time, it
doesn't matter. We had an opportunity to win the game. I hit
it and I'm the hero, but I missed it and I'm not."
"He simply didn't know the score, and it's a mistake on his
part," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He knew we were
missing and we did a good job on the play. He was the only guy
who didn't know the score. It's just a mistake, and one that's
The loss was the first in 14 Southeast Division games for the
Heat (53-18), who were trying to become the first team in league
history to end a season unbeaten against its own division.
Superstar center Shaquille O'Neal
attempted to remove the blame
from Wade by putting it on his own shoulders.
"It was my fault tonight," said O'Neal, who had 26 points and 16
rebounds. "I've got to get the guys more ready. We took them
a little too lightly and got ourselves into a hole that we could
have climbed out of, but we just made too many mistakes. I
take the blame for tonight because I've got to get the guys
fired up and ready."
"That's just Shaq being a leader and trying to take
responsibility," Wade said. "It's a team loss, just like all of
our wins have been team wins. We'll take it and we'll move
One night after a spirited home win over Phoenix, the Heat fell
percentage points behind the Suns in the race for the NBA's best
record. Van Gundy deflected the idea that this loss was a
"That's nothing but an excuse for people," he said. "We simply
got outplayed, period. We didn't deserve to win that game.
Charlotte deserved to win it.
"We decided to play one quarter, and it wasn't enough. We
didn't deserve to win. They played a lot better and a lot
harder and with a lot more focus than we did."
Miami trailed, 50-39, at the half but made a strong comeback in
the third quarter and tied it, 63-63, with 4:36 left.
"When we tied the game, we assumed we were back, we're the Heat,
and it will take care of itself," Van Gundy said. "The only
thing I can hope is that our guys learned something from it. It
was not a good performance, but I don't want to take anything
away from Charlotte. They were great. They played harder, they
played better and they deserved to win the game."
scored 12 of his career-high 27 points in the
fourth quarter, when the Bobcats snapped a 70-70 tie on a pair
of free throws by Matt Carroll
with 11:52 to go and never
"I was just trying to win the game," Brezec said. "It was a
team effort. My teammates would find me in a good position and
I was knocking down those jumpers."
"Without the big fella, we don't win," Charlotte guard BrevinKnight
said. "He stepped up and made some big shots the entire
game, especially that fourth quarter. When we needed somebody
to make a bucket, it was him."
Brezec also grabbed 11 boards, Gerald Wallace
scored 17 points
and Knight handed out 16 assists for Charlotte, which has won
three of its last four games.
"These guys know I'm going to give them the ball and they're
ready to shoot," said Knight, who recorded his third straight
game of at least 15 assists and ninth this season. "I told the
team that at the end of the year, I'll take care of everybody.
You take care of me now."
Wade scored 19 points and Eddie Jones
16 for the Heat, who have
lost two of three after a 12-game winning streak.
"We had opportunities to win the game, but we just didn't get it
done," Wade said. "Charlotte came out and played harder than
us. That team never gives up. That is basically their motto."
The win gave Charlotte just its second winning streak of the
season. The Bobcats also won two in a row from December 14-18 -
both overtime triumphs.
"Our guys have nowhere to go, but they're just competing,"
Bickerstaff said. "They give with everything they've got and
they leave it out on the court. What we said, as a group, is we
want to be spoilers."
Rookie Emeka Okafor
, who scored 12 points, suffered a sprained
left ankle with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter and did not